Winter, Flow and Shifting

It’s been awhile…

Forgive my long absence. I imagine you all believed I had dropped away and given up. In fact, I did need to drop away for a bit.

There have been a few changes and a few hiccups in the road.

The changes… actually exciting news.

I have teamed up with Hilltop Preschool to create an educator mentorship program, which has picked up much quicker than anticipated. I also hadn’t realized the demands this would place on my time in the early part of the school year. I have been working with the teachers at Hilltop and also with Oku, a homeschooling vendor in Fountain Valley, CA that hired all new teachers for the year. It has been busy but exciting helping them to define their combined intentions and support them in creating their vision as a project and relationship based school.

The hiccups…

While I had fully intended to ease up for the winter months, I did not realize the winter would come to me so quickly. In September and October on top of settling into my new home, my schedule was happily quite full but changes in the weather and the long hours had a greater impact on my body and my autoimmune disorder than expected. I had to work quickly to make adjustments in my schedule and demands and so the website work was simply let go.

For the same reasons, the in person Fireside Chats were also put aside.

The body says “NO” to living out of sync with the seasons

and what that means today is a slower pace physically, more rest and more reflection. Thus far, I am quite excited by my own growth and learning during this time. Lots of new discoveries to share.

In the meantime, I am still here and taking it a step at a time as I discover what to prioritize and how. Doing the moment to moment work of being a Family Spirit Keeper and staying in step with the flow and changing demands of family, healing, growth, learning and work.

For now, I will continue to mentor and build workshops with Hilltop, I have a few spots available for coaching and will continue to add to the Exploring Family Living online workshops with occasional in person Firesides as time permits. So stay up to date by subscribing to the website or following Family Spirit Keepers on FB.

Also, in the meantime:

I have two upcoming events:

The Four Chairs in Relationship and Problem Solving With Children

Family Spirit Keeper Fireside Chat on February 2, 2019  – 11 – 12:30pm in Fountain Valley spots are limited to 10 participants and this workshop will be followed up with further development and understanding on the Exploring Family Learning Fireside on February 19th

Communicating and problem solving, whether with children or in adult relationships, is all about connection.  When I connect with your needs or the needs of others, life is richer and easier but doing it – really doing it, is quite simply challenging!  Often our perspective is cluttered with stories and wounds and finding our way to clear communication and empathy can seem impossible. When we are facilitating between children, sometimes even more so!  Most of us know that we need to pause and breathe but what else? What is possible in the pause that can shift the conversation from blame and shame to connection, possibility and solution for all? The answer is in these four perspectives.

By combining my years of experience with training parents and children in the facilitation of problem solving and the work of Peggy Smith, Certified NVC trainer,  I have created a short powerful introductory tool that can be the beginning of a wonderful shift towards greater connection with yourself, your children and all those you live in relationship with.

The Four Chairs


Family Spirit Keeper Exploring Family Learning Fireside

Creating Connection through listening – observations vs evaluations – February 19, 2019  7-9pm in Fountain Valley, CA spots are limited to 10 participants.

Evaluation – it is a knee jerk response.  We experience what we believe and therefore we communicate as if our experience is absolute.  But it’s not. Our experience is a combination of what happened and all the baggage we brought into that moment.  A critical skill for more compassionate communication, connection and empathy is becoming more familiar with observation and observational language.  Developing an observer consciousness can help us in several ways.

  1. It helps us to communicate without judgement and assumption
  2. It helps us to see ourselves more compassionately
  3. It helps us sift through years of baggage and release old wounds by making us aware of subconscious stories that create anxiety and limiting beliefs.

IF you have taken the Four Chairs workshop, you probably have become aware of how difficult it is to shift into empathy or compassion for others.

Exploring Family Learning


Cultivating your observer and observer language is a great starting point.

You can still take advantage of the rich supportive homeschooling course, The Summer of Becoming. It is available online only for just $150 PLUS you get 2 months free of Exploring Family Learning online, including all previous offerings!  

And…the inner child steps forward.

I am laughing at myself a bit this morning as it dawns on me that my inner child has been running the show the last few days.  Pouting about how unfair life is.

beautiful blonde downstairs facial expression

Photo by Nikolay Draganov on

I discovered a false belief that she carries that someday there will be a time when I can just focus on – one thing.  “In two weeks, it will be calmer and I can just focus on creating or healing or my family.” or “This weekend will be easier to…”

Even though life keeps proving to me that saying it doesn’t make it a promise, I kept believing that it did. Just this morning, I realized, I feel disappointed all the time because that is not realistic!  Life will happen. Sure, there will be times that it all works out – but there is no promise – no setting life aside or stopping everyone and everything else so they might not interfere and change our plans.  Most of us are, after all, living interdependent lives. Choosing relationship over isolation.

How many times have I said these things to myself?  How many times has Spirit pointed out my folly? It’s rather like the belief that God will never let anything bad happen to me.  It just simply isn’t the true promise. It’s a child’s view of deeper truth. What does this look like in my life right now?

Well, I quit my job to focus on building a business and healing myself.  I felt the rush of excitement at having this simpler focus in my life – less distraction or others pulling at me.  Well, one month in and I received a phone call from the property manager that we would have to move in 60 days. It may seem like nothing to many of you but my parents and I have been renting this home for 37 years.  This is my childhood home, my children’s childhood home. As such, it holds life, death and a ton of wandering children’s belongings. You know what happens when you raise or help to raise 10 children? You acquire a lot!  And then you tell yourself you will get around to sorting through it – this weekend – this summer…and then a parent gets sick, a friend is in need, your child gets depressed or you’re so tired from work or overwhelm…

Annnnd… here we are full circle.  Ummm…someone is trying to tell me something about waiting around for the perfect time that never comes.  Or is it more about “fairness”? Maybe I should accept that LIFE waits for no man.. Maybe it is more about embracing who I am – or finding balance.  Could it be about choice? Balance? I am an inner-personal/intra-personally focused person – everything else in life is a distraction for me – an annoyance.  I guess that means I have some strong avoidance behaviors.

So what is the deeper truth?  What is Spirit’s promise here, if there is one at all?  Perhaps Spirit simply is asking me to know choice and gratitude when the opportunity presents itself.  To recognize that when I respond to the people in my life, it is because they are what matter to me. Responding meets my need to be of use, to matter to others, to belong…it is where my joy lies.  And yet, there are other needs…to have order in my life, to have time for self-nurturing, to provide shelter and sustenance for myself and my family. And so I step back for a minute and recognize that this is just like any other time when there are conflicting needs – we hold it all – we compromise – we adjust and finally we bend and flow.  The peace is in the knowing we are meeting needs by making choices – not by force – not as a victim but as a heart centered human.

adult adventure baby child

Photo by Pixabay on 


Reflecting On High School Graduation

I’ve been contemplating graduation ceremonies.  I have always felt conflicted about them.  When I graduated, much to my mother’s chagrin, I wasn’t interested in marching.  Our school was big!  My class was big, all I imagined was, so many kids, so many names and so many people.  I am an introvert, after all.  I also felt it was hypocritical.  I seemed to me that I hadn’t really done anything, high school was easy for me.  All I did was what I was supposed to do and had I not, I would have been in trouble.

I realize that context is everything and it is not always an easy thing for children to do.  It has varied meaning for varied folks and for me in various circumstances.

My nephew is quite the young man.  He has faced so much adversity.  He was raised by us all.  His mother was mentally ill and died when he was in 7th grade of an accidental drug overdose.  Following that his cousin/brother, my son died, his father became very ill and my father, his grandfather, died.

He loved public school for a very long time but eventually the stress overwhelmed him.  He needed to heal his heart and that was taking more time than public school expectations would allow.  He began homeschooling his sophomore year and that is when I asked him, who and what he wanted to be.

“I just wanna be that cool skater dude who’s been through so much and never touched a drug.  I wanna be an example.”


Noah has always been deeply spiritual and reflective.  Always loved exploring faith and symbolism.  Whenever we did ceremony at home or spiritual reflections he was always the first to answer questions or offer his thoughts so it was no surprise that he wanted to attend church.  He needed a regular dose and the big feels of community worship.  He is a social kid!

They became his extended family.  They supported him through it all, picked up where we left off and gave him a safe space to share and not have it complicated by our struggles or feelings.  They have given him scholarships to camp, paid for his mission trips and given him a place to grow and develop.  They probably have no idea how much of his homeschooling was from their support and expectations.  That is where he learned public speaking.  It’s where he became a youth leader and worked with children, learned collaboration and responsibility.  It’s where he gained friendships, found his girlfriend and found a reason to be an example.  It took dedication because he was the only Christian in our family.  We practice more traditional indigenous spirituality.

So there it is, he is an individual and we have done our best to honor that.  He learned to love homeschooling but sometimes longed for some of the traditional experiences of public school and he sometimes felt confused by the questions of well meaning adults who had different ideas of what success looks like and requires.

My children who have been unschooled now for 7 years feel like graduation is strange for them.  They usually ask questions like, “What will change? I am going to keep learning just like I am now.  When I want to learn something I’m going to find the way to do that.”  My oldest homeschooler chose not to acknowledge his graduation.  Didn’t even want a party.  That felt strange even to me!  Isn’t there some sort of mile stone?  Some sort of rite of passage?

Where and what is that, if not graduation?  What is the natural rhythm?

For Noah, graduation mattered and although we had conversations about it, considered requesting permission for him to march at his old high school, asked about a party…his answers maybe didn’t match his needs and we didn’t really know it till his church family stepped in.  They created a small ceremony for him.  And suddenly we all knew what it meant for him, for his dad and for all of us to mark the occasion.


Without a traditional educational paradigm, where do you think the natural rite of passages are?